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The Role Of Commercially Provided Security in Africa's Patrimonial Security Complexes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69 - 96
Number of pages28
JournalBrazilian Journal of Strategy and International Relations
Issue number5
Published10 Jul 2014


  • Kinsey Krieg Austral

    Kinsey_Krieg_Austral.pdf, 479 KB, application/pdf

    Uploaded date:15 Apr 2016

    Version:Final published version

King's Authors


With the concept of public security generally absent in Africa and a factionalized security sector of both state and non-state actors delivering security exclusively to certain groups affiliated with patrimonial elites, this paper examines the role of commercial providers of security within African security sectors. In factionalized security sectors with limited territorial reach, the state unable or unwilling to provide security as a public good within its boundaries has long lost its monopoly to control violence. It is against this backdrop that this paper asks the question to what extent commercial providers of security in Africa add another dimension to an already complex non-public security sector dominated by de-publicized statutory and non-statutory security providers. Thereby, this paper focuses on the degree to which commercial providers of security are embedded into patrimonial networks catering for exclusive private security interests of certain elites. Focusing on the issue of the private or public nature of commercially provided security in Africa through the prism of normative theory, this paper neither intends to make a moral value judgment about the legitimacy of commercially provided security in Africa nor intends to relativize the private patrimonial nature of commercially provided security as a phenomenon inherent in African civil-security sector relations. This paper rather tries to lay an exploratory foundation for the understanding of the interests driving commercial providers of security in Africa.

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